Things have changed considerably since the days when our grandparents and parents were our age. For one thing, acceptable clothing for women has changed. Once, it was considered a sin if ankles showed; yet, we have just passed through a time when the mini-skirt was the style. Now, women are seldom seen in dresses, and pantsuits are acceptable almost everywhere; even in church!
Not only has women’s clothing changed, but their whole attitude toward life has changed. According to the ERA, women are men’s equals and deserve equal treatment and opportunities. They feel that they are able to do the work traditionally done by men and do just as well, if not better than the men. The attitudes of men toward women have changed accordingly.
Because of these changes in the attitudes toward women and their roles outside of the church, there is also a change in the attitudes inside the church. More and more there is a trend toward letting the women vote in congregational meetings, and even toward voting women into consistories. In fact, this is already being practiced in some Reformed churches.
The next step, as I see it, is the reason for the title of this article. There are some women in the seminaries studying to be ministers. Although they claim that they only want to study and learn more about the Bible, this will eventually lead to women in the ministry. Hence, “Reverend and Mister Jones.”
The people who are in support of women voting in congregational meetings, as members of consistories, and as ministers, have little that they can even say to prove their point. One text which they quote is Galatians 3:28. This reads: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” They have taken this text out of context. Instead of referring to roles in the church, as they suppose, it refers to salvation, which can be seen when one reads the whole chapter.
Another thing they use for support is the United States Constitution. The Constitution states that all men are created equal, and that also refers to women. I fail to see what significance and bearing this has with regard to the church seeing that the church and state are separate. Also, if this is their support they place more confidence in man (the Constitution) than in God (the Bible).
Finally, they use texts such as I Timothy 2:12 to say that Paul was affected by the times in which he lived. Paul, they say, didn’t want women to teach, but there is nothing wrong now with women teachers. In chapel at Illiana, we had a young man from the Reformed Church say that Paul wrote this because in his days the woman was insignificant and couldn’t teach because she wasn’t educated enough. The same, he claimed, goes for woman’s place in the church when Paul states it is wrong for women to be leaders in the church. What this youth and many people fail to see is that Paul is writing about the teaching office of the ministry and not about teaching in schools. Also, claiming that Paul was affected by the time and age in which he lived or that the Bible is cultural, is denying the infallibility of the Bible, which is much worse than placing women in places of authority in the church.
There are many texts which prove our stand on this matter. I Corinthians 14:34, 35 states that the woman must keep silence in the church and that it is a shame for women to speak in the church. I Timothy 2:11, 12 states that the woman’s place is to learn in silence with subjection and that a woman should not take the teaching role of the ministry or usurp authority, which she would do when she voted or as a member of the consistory. In I Timothy 3, the requirements of elder and deacons are listed, one of which is the husband of one wife. In I Corinthians 11:3 the Bible states that the head of the woman is the man. The woman is to be in subjection to the man, not have authority over him, which authority she would have as a voting member of the church.
We, as young people in this day and age, should know the truth concerning this and stand up for what we know to be the truth. We should show others the error their belief and stand firm in the faith; we are the future church of Jesus Christ and we must see to it that the truth is not lost!